Chapter 5

Diagnosing Organizations

Multiple Choice Questions

1. Which of the following statements does not describe diagnosis?

a. the process of discovering specific problems or assessing overall functioning of the organization

b. the process whereby groups are confronted with their problems and deal with them

c. a road map of how organizations function

d. concerned with identifying specific organizational problems

e. the process of assessing the functioning of the organization at all levels

2. Diagnostic models incorporate

a. scientific models of how organizations function

b. conceptual frameworks of how organizations function

c. intuitive “hunches” of how organizations function

d. A and B

e. A, B and C

3. Diagnosis helps OD practitioners

a. understand how the organization is functioning

b. evaluate effective interventions

c. gather information necessary to design change interventions

d. none of the above

e. A and C

4. The organization’s general environment consists of

a. employee satisfaction

b. external forces that can indirectly affect the organization

c. external forces that can directly affect the organization

d. B and C

e. A and C

5. Which of the following is not one of Porter’s five forces that define the task environment?

a. supplier and buyer power

b. organization member perceptions

c. rivalry among competitors

d. threats of substitutes

e. threats of entry

6. Which general diagnostic model most underlies OD?

a. general systems model

b. closed systems model

c. open systems model

d. variable systems model

e. direct systems model

7. What are the key properties of a system?

a. inputs, transformations, and outputs

b. feedback

c. boundaries

d. equifinality

e. all of the above

8. Competitive responses to the environment should meet what criteria?

a. valuable, clever, and unique

b. valuable, unique and difficult to imitate

c. timely, focused, and valuable

d. rare, difficult to imitate, and difficult to create

e. aggressive, timely, and swift

9. An organization-level diagnosis is appropriate when

a. the desired effectiveness of the firm has not yet been obtained

b. problems regarding employee morale exist

c. there is a need to discover future management development opportunities

d. all of the above

e. A and B

10. Which two key inputs listed below affect the way an organization designs its strategic orientation?

a. employee effectiveness and morale

b. company culture and group interactions

c. general environment and industry structure

d. none of the above

11. Which of the following are design components of a strategic orientation?

a. human resource and measurement systems

b. technology and structural systems

c. general environment and industry structure

d. strategy and organizational culture

e. A, B and D

12. Which of the following are outputs of an organization’s strategic orientation?

a. profits

b. productivity

c. customer satisfaction

d. employee morale

e. all of the above

True/False Questions

13. To diagnose an organization, the OD practitioner carefully examines the management team to discover the cause its problems.

14. Collaborating with management is essential for a successful diagnosis.

15. In making a good diagnostic model, “hands on” knowledge and practical information are more important than organization theory.

16. The task environment consists of individuals and organizations that interact directly with the organization.

17. Scanning units help organizations gather information from the environment.

18. An organization’s strategic competitive advantage is aided when its strategies are difficult to imitate.

19. By nature of the “open systems” model, organizations are largely unaffected by external forces.

20. One indicator of effectiveness is that all levels of the organization “fit” and support each other.

21. Uncertain and changing industry structures demand rigid structural, measurement, and human resource systems.

22. Diagnostic models derive from conceptual frameworks about how organizations function.

Essay Questions

23. Outline the key issues involved in Open Systems Theory including the five key systems properties: inputs, transformations, and outputs; boundaries; feedback; equifinality; and alignment.

24. Compare and contrast the key dimensions of the general environment, the task environment and the enacted environment of an organization.

25. Describe an effective diagnostic model at the organization-level. Discuss its major inputs, outputs and strategic orientation.